Safe city a priority

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PORT Moresby is becoming a Safe City compared to the past, says Deputy Police Commissioner – Administration, Raphael Huafolo. Huafolo says more awareness is being generated today to make Port Moresby a Safe City compared to the past because there are more activities being done to generate these awareness in preventing crime. In recent years, both the government and non-governmental organisations including the Development Partners have joined hands with the Municipal Government under the leadership of the NCD Governor Powes Parkop in participating in various activities to generate more awareness on gender based violence and violence of all forms not only against women and girls but men and boys too. The introduction of Social Media has also played a part in spreading the awareness to individuals throughout the city updating them of what was happening in the city to address this issue as well been informed of which places were safe to go and which were not. “There are a lot of awareness which makes people mindful where to go and where not to go,” Huafolo says giving a clear example of Gordon market adding in the past people were not made aware of the high rate of petty crimes, physical harassment and even rapes that occurred at Gordon market and frequented the area thus end up becoming victims. He said today people are been made aware of it through continuous awareness and therefore are avoiding that particular area. Another positive step in the right direction is that NCDC under the Markets Management division and the Gender Desk have taken a new approach to addressing the issue of violence and petty crime at Gordon market by targeting the perpetrators of these problems by involving them to undergo training on personal development to help them realise what they were doing was wrong. The first lot of 19 youths who are known as the leaders of the petty thieves at Gordon market received two weeks training which had opened their mind to view things differently. They are now accepting this change as hope to transform their lives and are working with the NCDC to make Gordon market area a safe place for all. Their followers have openly expressed in the presence of the NCDC management during the graduation two weeks ago that there is nothing they can do but to follow their leaders to live a positive life from now on. They urged NCDC to organise a similar training for them too so they can be educated on positive personal development to do away with the negative aspects of their life. The youths also appealed to the Commission to support them with whatever means it could to sustain their new pathway to life that could earn them self-respect within the community. NCDC Markets Manager Charlie Pengie and Social Services Manager Kila Dick responded that the Commission will be working with them for the betterment of everyone and for a peaceful community. Meanwhile, DCP Huafolo said Port Moresby is also privileged to have such a good Governor and leader in Powes Parkop whom he described as a “colourful governor”. “The Governor is really focussed on dealing with all levels of social issues affecting the citizens in the city and outside of the city as well like the Central province,” says Huafolo. Huafolo says Governor Parkop is doing all this with the aim of getting rid of criminal activity and also focussing on health and fitness for the people. “He is one of the colourful governors who is focussed on working for the people so that they benefit from services that would help them to live longer,” says Huafolo. Huafolo’s remarks on Port Moresby becoming a Safe City is just confirming what the President of the Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry David Conn said last year during the country’s 41st independence anniversary. Conn was asked by this paper to give his professional view on Port Moresby City’s economic and physical development so far after 41 years of independence. He said Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce been the leading business organisation in the nation’s capital since 1923 had not seen such rapid development of the capital city within those 93 years. “Visitors to the city arrive with the preconceptions of danger fostered by their home press or word of mouth, but from the second they arrive at Jacksons Airport, an airport that clearly works well and surely busy enough to be a hub for the region, not only north-south, but now east-west, and are whisked away in air-conditioned comfort to international standard hotels such as the Airways, Grand Papua, Crowne Plaza, Gateway, Holiday inn, Lamana or the fabulous new arrival, the Stanley, they are quietly amazed,” says Mr Conn. For an economy that many feel is in recession there is still an awful lot of building going on, even in parts of town that once were extremely unfashionable, he says. “The road network is finally exactly that, a network of new expressways, complete with streetlights and footpaths, because after all Port Moresby is a city of pedestrians. The CBD finally feels like the centre of the nation’s capital,” Conn adds. Conn gave this rave assessment of Port Moresby’s progress while reflecting on Papua New Guinea’s 41 years of nationhood. His evaluation corresponded to the general progress of the business community in Port Moresby with regards to the development efforts of the NCDC to make Port Moresby as a city conducive to business and investment. His impressions on Port Moresby’s growth as exponential best describes the importance of better and modern infrastructure to business operations in as far as time and productivity is concerned. Conn further stated that the pace at which Port Moresby has developed over the years has opened up opportunities in the city. Port Moresby’s new road links that have conveniently linked up the entire city was a stark reference by Conn. He alluded to the new double carriageways that now ring the city from the Paga Ring Road, the Baruni Bypass, to Atlas Steel, back to Gerehu and then on to 9 Mile, as having opened up corridors for residential and industrial development that were undreamt of 10 years ago. “The legacy of the 2015 Pacific Games has left us with several worldclass venues able to host international events and with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on the way and the APEC in 2018 it is not hard to feel the confidence around City Hall and in government that Port Moresby could actually host a Commonwealth Games, possibly as soon as 2026, after Durban,” said Mr Conn. He says there is so much everyone can be proud of with regards to the city’s development but there are challenges yet to be faced and overcome. “The Chamber remains optimistic that our city will develop in a much more harmonious and vibrant manner, but that will require all residents to be proud of the place they live in. “Be proud of your city. Be a part of the growth and development of your city. We are all in this together. Love it or hate this is the place we live and work in, educate our children in, rejoice and mourn in. It is home.”

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